Vietnamese Americans and hepatitis B

Posted on August 31, 2011


I’ve been an intern at CSAAH since the end of March 2011.

When I first began, I knew the basics about hepatitis B (affects the liver, Asian Americans are at higher risk, there’s a vaccine available).  Upon perusing the literature that is currently available, I noticed that there’s a substantial amount of data out there on Chinese Americans and Korean Americans.  However, not so much is out there on Vietnamese Americans (I’ve collected almost 2 dozen, which is minuscule compared to other Asian groups).  This could be due to the fact that Vietnamese Americans are fairly recent immigrants compared to Chinese and Korean Americans.

Although Vietnamese Americans make up a small percentage  of the Asian population in NYC, nationally they make up a fairly large chunk and are a very fast growing population, which is one reason why it is important to continue to study this population even further.  It is especially important, since studies have found that Vietnamese American men have the highest prevalence of liver cancer (80% of which is caused by chronic hepatitis B infections).

Studies that I have read tend to clump Vietnamese Americans into a single group, which I believe is not as helpful as if the studies were conducted targeting a specific subgroup the Vietnamese American community.  For example, perhaps older immigrants shouldn’t be in the same sample as younger, US-born individuals.  I guess this would have to be the case if you’re designing an intervention of some sort.  But that’s just my two-cents.

We’ll have to see what to make of my two-cents once I start analyzing some data sets.